2020 Presidential Candidates

The Contenders Who Competed to Run Against Donald Trump

Several candidates waving onstage at a debate
Candidates onstage at an early Democratic debate in 2019.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Within weeks of Donald Trump taking the oath of office as the nation's 45th president, challengers began lining up to see who would attempt to unseat him in the 2020 presidential election. The controversial president faced early challenges from within his own party, but by and large, the focus remained on the candidates put forth by the opposing Democratic Party.

During one of the most crowded primary seasons in recent memory, several high-profile Democrats, including multiple sitting senators and rising stars in the party, competed for the party's nomination. Ultimately, it was former vice president Joe Biden who won the party's nomination. He selected Senator Kamala Harris, another primary candidate, as his running mate, and the ticket won the 2020 general election with 51.3% of the vote and 306 electoral votes to 46.9% and 232 electoral votes for the incumbent Trump/Pence ticket.

Here's a look at the Democrats, and even members of Trump's own Republican Party, who ran campaigns looking to unseat the controversial commander-in-chief.

Democratic Challengers
 Candidate Campaign Began Campaign Ended
Joe Biden  April 25, 2019 N/A
Bernie Sanders  February 19, 2019 April 8, 2020
Elizabeth Warren  February 9, 2019 March 5, 2020
Michael Bloomberg  November 24, 2019 March 5, 2020
Pete Buttigieg  April 14, 2019 March 1, 2020
Amy Klobuchar  February 10, 2019 March 2, 2020
Tulsi Gabbard  January 11, 2019 March 19, 2020
Kamala Harris  January 21, 2019 December 3, 2019
Andrew Yang  November 6, 2017 February 11, 2020
Cory Booker February 1, 2019 January 13, 2020
Julián Castro January 12, 2019 January 2, 2020
Tom Steyer July 9, 2019 February 29, 2020
Beto O'Rourke March 14, 2019 November 1, 2019
Kirsten Gillibrand March 17, 2019 August 28, 2019
Bill de Blasio May 16, 2019 September 20, 2019
Marianne Williamson January 28, 2019 January 10, 2020
Jay Inslee March 1, 2019 August 21, 2019
Eric Swalwell April 8, 2019 July 8, 2019
Tim Ryan April 4, 2019 October 24, 2019
Seth Moulton April 22, 2019 August 23, 2019
John Hickenlooper March 4, 2019 August 15, 2019
Steve Bullock May 14, 2019 December 1, 201
Michael Bennet May 2, 2019 February 11, 2020
Deval Patrick November 14, 2019 February 12, 2020
Republican Challengers
 Candidate Campaign Began Campaign Ended
 Bill Weld April 15, 2019 March 18, 2020
Mark Sanford September 8, 2019 November 12, 2019
Joe Walsh August 25, 2019 February 7, 2020

Democrat Joe Biden

Vice President Joe Biden
Vice President Joe Biden is sworn in by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor in January 2013. Mark Wilson/Getty Images News

Two-term vice president under Barack Obama, former U.S. Senator Joe Biden announced his long-anticipated candidacy in a video released on April 25, 2019. “We are in a battle for the soul of this nation,” Biden states in the video, adding, “The core values of this nation … our standing in the world … our very democracy . . . everything that has made America—America—is at stake.”

Long a vocal critic of President Trump, Biden has supported legislation to address climate change, opposed Trump’s immigration policies, and supported LGBT rights, including same-sex marriage and the rights of transgender persons to serve in the military. Ideologically, Biden is viewed as a centrist whose policies reflect an emphasis on bipartisanship. 

Biden officially became the Democratic nominee for president in August 2020, with former primary competitor Kamala Harris as his running mate. In November 2020, he defeated incumbent Trump in the general election and became the 46th president of the United States for a term beginning January 20, 2021.

Democrat Bernie Sanders

Sen. Bernie Sanders
U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). Phil Roeder/Flickr.com

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, seen as the standard-bearer of American liberalism, withdrew from the campaign on April 8, 2020, after a string of primary losses crippled his chances. In a live-streamed speech, Sanders acknowledged that “the path toward victory is virtually impossible,” adding that because of his campaign, the progressive movement has taken “a major step forward in the never-ending struggle for economic justice, social justice, racial justice, and environmental justice.” Sanders stated that he would endorse the presumptive Democratic nominee, Senator Joseph Biden, who he called “a very decent man, who I will work with to move our progressive ideas forward. However, Sanders said that he planned to stay on the ballot, hoping to collect delegates for the nominating convention, “where we will be able to exert significant influence over the party platform.”

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont has a strong following, particularly among younger, more liberal members of the Democratic Party. He gave Hillary Clinton a run for her money during the intraparty battle for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination by drawing large crowds with his passionate speeches about income inequality in the corrupting influence of money in the American political system.

Democrat Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Warren
Democratic U.S. Sen Elizabeth Warren is considered to be a strong choice for the presidential nomination in 2020. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Onetime front-runner U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren withdrew from the race on March 5, 2020, after failing to win a single state in the Super Tuesday primaries, including her own state of Massachusetts. “I refuse to let disappointment blind me—or you—to what we've accomplished,” Warren told her campaign staff. “We didn't reach our goal, but what we have done together—what you have done—has made a lasting difference. It's not the scale of the difference we wanted to make, but it matters.” Warren, who had exited progressives with her “plan for everything” economic platform, declined to immediately endorse any if her former rivals. “I need some space and I need a little time right now,” she said, her voice cracking often from emotion. 

Elizabeth Warren is a U.S. senator from Massachusetts who was rumored to have been on Hillary Clinton's short list of potential running mates in the 2016 election. She has earned a reputation as a consumer advocate and advocate for the middle class because of her expertise in bankruptcy and the economic pressures facing many Americans. She, like Sanders, has taken a tough stance against Wall Street. Sen. Warren officially announced her candidacy on February 9, 2019, after a contentious week of dodging flack over her disputed claim of Indigenous ancestry.

Democrat Michael Bloomberg

Photograph of Michael Bloomberg
Michael Bloomberg attends the 2019 Hudson River Park Gala at Cipriani South Street. Jim Spellman / Contributor / Getty Images

After spending an estimated $558 million of his own money on TV ads, former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg ended his candidacy on March 3, 2020. “I’m a believer in using data to inform decisions. After yesterday’s results, the delegate math has become virtually impossible—and a viable path to the nomination no longer exists," Bloomberg said in press statement. “But I remain clear-eyed about my overriding objective: victory in November. Not for me, but for our country.” Bloomberg asked his followers to support Former Vice President Joe Biden, who had just scored major victories in the Super Tuesday primaries. “I’ve always believed that defeating Donald Trump starts with uniting behind the candidate with the best shot to do it,” Bloomberg said. “After yesterday’s vote, it is clear that candidate is my friend and a great American, Joe Biden.”

Former New York City Mayor and billionaire Michael Bloomberg announced his candidacy on November 24, 2019. "I offer myself as a doer and a problem solver – not a talker. And as someone who is ready to take on the tough fights – and win," Bloomberg says in a statement on his website. "Defeating Trump – and rebuilding America – is the most urgent and important fight of our lives. And I’m going all in.”

With a net worth estimated at $58 billion, Bloomberg promised to make one of his top presidential priorities, “Raising taxes on wealthy individuals like me.” Other main planks of his platform include creating jobs, universal health care, curbing gun violence, and fighting climate change. "We cannot afford four more years of President Trump’s reckless and unethical actions," he stated.

Bloomberg had been a lifelong Democrat until 2001, when he was elected mayor as a Republican. He won a second term in 2005, and left the Republican Party in 2007. In 2017, he endorsed Hillary Clinton for president, and changed his political party affiliation back to the Democrats in October 2018.

Democrat Pete Buttigieg

Portrait of Pete Buttigieg
Portrait of Pete Buttigieg. Wikimedia Commons

Former Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg ended his campaign on March 1, 2020, moments after Joe Biden easily won the South Carolina primary. “The truth is the path has narrowed to a close for our candidacy if not for our cause,” Buttigieg told his supporters. “We must recognize that at this point in the race, the best way to keep faith with those goals and ideals is to step aside and help bring our party and country together.” On March 2, the 38-year old, and first openly gay presidential candidate endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden. “And that was always a goal that was much bigger than me becoming president and it is in the name of that very same goal that I am delighted to endorse and support Joe Biden for President,” he said.

Describing himself as “a millennial Mayor, Afghanistan war veteran, and husband,” Pete Buttigieg is also the first openly gay, and at just 37, the youngest candidate to ever run for president. Serving as the 32nd mayor of South Bend, Indiana since 2012, the Washington Post has called him “the most interesting Mayor you’ve never heard of” and President Obama named him one of four Democrats who best represented the future of the Democratic Party.

Democrat Amy Klobuchar

US Senator Amy Klobuchar
Sen. Klobuchar addresses Pro-Equality Members of 116th Congress. Getty Images Entertainment

Senator Amy Klobuchar ended her campaign on Monday, March 2, 2020, while endorsing former Vice President Joe Biden for president. “It is up to us, all of us, to put our country back together, to heal this country and then to build something even greater,” Klobuchar told the crowd at a Biden rally in Dallas, Texas. “I believe we can do this together, and that is why today I am ending my campaign and endorsing Joe Biden for president.” Suggesting that Biden could unify the nation and the Democratic Party. "He (Biden) can bring our country together and build that coalition of our fired-up Democratic base, and it is fired up, as well as Independents and moderate Republicans, because we do not in our party want to just eek by a victory. We want to win big. And Joe Biden can do that.”

First elected in 2006, Amy Klobuchar is the Senior U.S. Senator and first female Senator from Minnesota. Considered a “rising star” of the Democratic Party, her political positions have generally been along liberal lines. She supports LGBT rights and the full restoration of Obamacare, and is strongly pro-choice on abortion. Due to her staunch support of Roe v. Wade, Klobuchar opposed President Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

Democrat Tulsi Gabbard

US Rep. Tulsi Gabbard
Tulsi Gabbard speaks at Bernie Sanders 'A future to believe in San Francisco. Tim Mosenfelder / Getty Images

U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii ended her presidential campaign on March 19, 2020, after weak finishes in the Super Tuesday and following primaries left her ineligible to participate in the next debates. “After Tuesday’s primary results, it is clear that Democratic Primary voters have chosen Vice President Joe Biden to be the person who will take on President Trump in the general election," she stated. “Although I may not agree with the Vice President on every issue, I know that he has a good heart and is motivated by his love for our country and the American people.” 

Tulsi Gabbard, a U.S. Representative from Hawaii, strongly opposed the Trans-Pacific Partnership and led protests against it arguing that it would largely benefit multinational corporations at the expense of American workers while actively contributing to threats to the environment, such as global warming. Gabbard supports universal health care, making community college tuition-free for all Americans, and increasing the hourly federal minimum wage to $15 nationwide. 

Democrat Kamala Harris

2020 Presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris
Kamala Harris Launches Presidential Campaign. Mason Trinca / Getty Images

Senator Kamala Harris once considered a leading contender, shut down her 2020 presidential campaign on December 3, 2019. Low polling numbers and lack of money had limited her campaign in the months leading up to her withdrawal. "So, here's the truth today,” Harris said in an email to her supporters. “I've taken stock and looked at this from every angle, and over the last few days have come to one of the hardest decisions of my life.” 

U.S. Senator Kamala Harris, former Attorney General of California, joined Shirley Chisholm and Carol Moseley Braun as two Black women who previously sought to run on the Democratic ticket. In announcing her candidacy, Harris noted her close relationship with party luminaries Sen. Dianne Feinstein and former Vice President Joe Biden. “I have the unique experience of having been a leader in local government, state government, and federal government,” she said regarding her credentials. “The American public wants a fighter ... and I’m prepared to do that.”

Harris was selected as Biden's running mate later in 2020, becoming the first Black woman and the first woman of Indian descent to be nominated on a major party's ticket. With their victory in the 2020 election, Harris became the first female vice president of the United States.

Democrat Andrew Yang

Portrait of Andrew Yang
Portrait of Andrew Yang. Wikimedia Commons

Entrepreneur Andrew Yang suspended his campaign on February 11, 2020, after a poor showing in the New Hampshire primary. “While there is great work left to be done, you know I am the math guy. And it is clear tonight from these numbers that we are not going to win this race,” Yang told his supporters gathered in the Puritan Conference Center in Manchester.

An entrepreneur known for his nonprofit Venture for America, Andrew Yang’s platform included giving all adult U.S. citizens $1,000 month in a universal basic income he calls a “Freedom Dividend.” He also proposed regulating the addictive nature of media, adding a White House Psychologist, and making Tax Day a national holiday.

Yang later announced his candidacy for the 2021 mayoral election of New York City.

Democrat Cory Booker

Cory Booker
Democratic U.S. Sen. Cory Booker is said to be on the short list of potential challengers to Donald Trump in 2020. Drew Angered/Getty Images

New Jersey Senator Cory Booker announced his withdrawal from the race on January 13, 2020, blaming a lack of campaign funding. “Our campaign has reached the point where we need more money to scale up and continue building a campaign that can win—money we don't have, and money that is harder to raise because I won't be on the next debate stage and because the urgent business of impeachment will rightly be keeping me in Washington,” Booker said in an email to his supporters. Booker stated that he would concentrate running for reelection to the Senate, which he did win in 2020.

Booker also is a former mayor of Newark, New Jersey. He gained national attention when he testified against a colleague in the U.S. Senate, Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, who was nominated for attorney general by Trump in 2017. Booker's speech in opposition to his colleague was likened to former President Barack Obama's soaring rhetoric.

Said Booker:

“If confirmed, Senator Sessions will be required to pursue justice for women, but his record indicates that he won’t. He will be expected to defend the equal rights of gay and lesbian and transgender Americans, but his record indicates that he won’t. He will be expected to defend voting rights, but his record indicates that he won’t. He will be expected to defend the rights of immigrants and affirm their human dignity, but the record indicates that he won’t.”

Democrat Julián Castro

Julian Castro picture
San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro gives the keynote address on day one of the Democratic National Convention in August 2012. Joe Raedle/Getty Images News

Julián Castro withdrew from the race on January 2, 2020, citing his campaign’s failure to gain traction in the crowded Democratic field. “Today it’s with a heavy heart, and profound gratitude, that I will suspend my campaign for president,” Castro said in a video posted on Twitter. “To all who have been inspired by our campaign, especially our young people, keep reaching for your dreams.”

Julián Castro is a Hispanic politician and rising star in the Democratic Party. He served as the mayor of San Antonio, Texas, and later earned a position in President Barack Obama's cabinet as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

Democrat Tom Steyer

Photo of Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer seated in a classroom
Democratic Presidential Candidate Tom Steyer. Wikimedia Commons

Former hedge-fund executive and self-financed candidate Tom Steyer dropped out of the race on February 29, 2020, after finishing no better than third in the South Carolina primary. Despite a $191 million nationwide ad campaign, Steyer had failed to win any convention delegates.

Best known for his self-financed nationwide campaign to impeach President Trump, billionaire Democrat Tom Steyer launched his presidential campaign on July 9, 2019. In his announcement video, Steyer echoed the message shared by Democratic candidates Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, as well as President Trump, that too many Americans feel the government deck is stacked against them. “Really, what we're doing is trying to make democracy work by pushing power down to the people,” he said before listing corruption and family cronyism in politics, along with climate change as his main issues.

Democrat Beto O'Rourke

Beto O'Rourke
Beto O'Rourke speaks onstage at Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations. Jamie McCarthy / Getty Images

Former U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke dropped out of the 2020 presidential race on November 1, 2019, citing a lack of funding and failure to gain traction in polling. “This is a campaign that has prided itself on seeing things clearly, on speaking honestly and on acting decisively,” O’Rourke told his supporters. “We have to clearly see at this point that we do not have the means to pursue this campaign successfully.” On March 2, 2020, O'Rourke endorsed Former Vice President Joe Biden.

Beto O'Rourke served as a U.S. Representative from Texas from 2013 to 2019. He gained nationwide notoriety and significant support among Democrats when he almost unseated heavily-favored Republican incumbent Ted Cruz in the 2018 Texas Senate race. Saying he does not know exactly where he falls on the political spectrum, O'Rourke had been variously classified as a progressive, liberal, or centrist. In Congress, has sponsored bipartisan bills as well as broken with his party on issues like trade.

Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) Announces She's a Candidate for President. Drew Angerer / Getty Images

New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand dropped out of the race on August 28, 2019, after failing to qualify for the third Democratic primary debate, having failed to meet the donation and polling numbers required by the Democratic National Committee. Gillibrand told her supporters, “I am so proud of this team and all we've accomplished. But I think it's important to know how you can best serve. To our supporters: Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. Now, let's go beat Donald Trump and win back the Senate.”

Widely known for her #MeToo social media advocacy for survivors of sexual violence, Gillibrand announced her candidacy on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, where she stated her intention bring Democrats and Republicans together. “You have to start by restoring what’s been lost, restoring our leadership in the world,” she said. Gillibrand has stated her belief that the future of the Democratic Party depends on harnessing the power of women. “I’m going to run for president of the United States because as a young mom I am going to fight for other people’s kids as hard as I would fight for my own,’’ she said.

Democrat Bill de Blasio

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio withdrew from the race on September 20, 2019, after weak polling numbers prevented him from qualifying for the third Democratic debate. Nationwide polls conducted the week before the debate showed de Blasio garnering support from just 1% of the respondents. “I feel like I’ve contributed all I can to this primary election,” he said. “And it’s clearly not my time. So I’m going to end my presidential campaign.”

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced his candidacy on May 16, 2019, via a video featuring his campaign slogan “Working People First.” Hoping to defy poor early polling numbers and limited campaign funding, he hoped his platform’s foundation of ending financial inequality would resonate with working-class voters.

Democrat Marianne Williamson

Photograph of Marianne Williamson
Marianne Williamson. Wikimedia Commons

Self-help author and spiritual guru Marianne Williamson withdrew from the presidential race on January 10, 2020, citing a general lack of voter support. In a post on her website, Williamson stated that “with caucuses and primaries now about to begin ... we will not be able to garner enough votes in the election to elevate our conversation any more than it is now. The primaries might be tightly contested among the top contenders, and I don’t want to get in the way of a progressive candidate winning any of them.”

As the well-known author of more than a dozen self-help and spirituality books, Marianne Williamson of California has campaigned for the rights of gay men with AIDS and created a charity that now supplies meals to people with serious illnesses. In 2014, then an Independent, Williamson ran unsuccessfully for the House of Representatives. As a presidential candidate, Williamson has proposed paying $100 billion in reparations for the enslavement of people, with $10 billion to be distributed annually over a decade for economic and education projects.

Democrat Jay Inslee

Official portrait of Washington state governor Jay Inslee.
Washington State Governor Jay Inslee. Public Domain

In announcing his candidacy on March 1, 2019, Washington State’s Democratic Governor, Jay Inslee stressed what he called the “existential threat” of climate change to the safety and security of the United States. As governor, Inslee emphasized climate change, education, and drug policy reform, and gained national attention for his criticism of President Trump. In 2017, he filed a lawsuit that succeeded in temporarily blocking implementation of Trump’s terrorism-related executive order banning Syrian refugees from entering the United States. 

Citing extremely low poll numbers, Inslee suspended his campaign on August 21, 2019. Instead, he ran for a third term as governor, which he won in the 2020 election.

Democrat Eric Swalwell

U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell
U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell.

 United States Congress / Public Domain

California Representative Eric Swalwell withdrew from the 2020 presidential race on July 8, 2019, to focus on his bid to be re-elected to the House of Representatives. “Polling and fundraising numbers weren’t what we had hoped for and I no longer see a path forward to the nomination,” Swalwell said on his campaign website, adding, “Today ends our presidential campaign, but it is the beginning of an opportunity in Congress.” 

U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell of California joins the ever-growing field of Democratic hopefuls as one of President Trump’s most outspoken critics in Congress. Serving in Congress since 2012, Swalwell has advocated for increasing school funding, while cutting defense spending. He has stated that as president would protect Social Security by requiring wealthier Americans would pay more into the program. Staunchly pro-choice on abortion, he also supports same-sex marriage. A vocal advocate of strict gun control, Swalwell has called for a mandatory buyback program of “military-style semi-automatic assault weapons,” with the prosecution of gun owners who fail to comply. 

After suspending his presidential campaign, Swalwell ran for re-election to Congress and won his fifth term in 2020.

Democrat Tim Ryan

Portrait of Rep. Tim Ryan
U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio). Wikimedia Commons

Representative Tim Ryan of Ohio dropped out of the presidential race on October 24, 2019. After barely qualifying for the first two Democratic debates in June and July, Ryan fell far short of reaching the higher polling and funding levels needed to take part in the debates to come. “I'm proud of this campaign because I believe we’ve done that. We’ve given voice to the forgotten communities and the forgotten people in the United States,” Ryan told his supporters. 

U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio, first elected to Congress in 2003, announced his presidential bid on April 4, 2019. A critic of President Trump’s immigration police and supporter of preserving Obamacare, Ryan stated, “The country is divided,” adding, “We can't get anything done because of these huge divisions that we have.” 

Ryan won re-election to his congressional seat in 2020.

Democrat Seth Moulton

Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass.
Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass. Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts withdrew from the race on August 23, 2019, acknowledging that his campaign had failed to gain traction.

When he entered the race on April 22, Massachusetts’ Democratic Sen. Seth Moulton told ABC’s “Good Morning America” that “I’m running because I’m a patriot, because I believe in this country and because I’ve never wanted to sit on the sidelines when it comes to serving it.” Considered a moderate, Moulton has supported legalizing marijuana, same-sex marriage, abortion rights, and stronger gun control. An Iraq War veteran himself, Moulton has encouraged other veterans to run for Congress. Most recently, he released his “National Service Education” plan to encourage young Americans to serve their country and promised, if elected, create a job-rich “Federal Green Corps.”

Moulton won re-election to his congressional seat in 2020.

Democrat John Hickenlooper

John Hickenlooper during the World Economic Forum 2013
John Hickenlooper During the World Economic Forum 2013. Wikimedia Commons

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper ended his run for the 2020 presidential nomination on August 15, 2019, after failing to achieve polling and contribution levels needed to qualify for the September Democratic debate in Houston.

Hickenlooper joined the sprawling field of Democratic hopefuls on March 4, 2019. As governor, the 66-year-old former brewpub owner and Denver mayor persuaded several Republican mayors to support a tax hike to fund a rail network around Denver, limited methane emissions from energy exploration, backed and signed gun control laws, and expanded the state’s Medicaid program. Since 2003, Hickenlooper has campaigned for increasing state services to the homeless. In 2006, he opposed a ballot initiative which decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana for recreational use in Denver.

Hickenlooper ran for Senate against one-term Republican incumbent Cory Gardner and won the 2020 Colorado senatorial election.

Democrat Steve Bullock

Montana Governor Steve Bullock
Montana Governor Steve Bullock.

Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain


Montana Gov. Steve Bullock withdrew from the race on December 1, 2019, after failing to reach funding and popularity polling numbers required to take part in most of the Democratic party’s nationally televised debates. In a brief statement, Bullock told his supporters, “while there are many obstacles we could not have anticipated when entering this race, it has become clear that in this moment I won’t be able to break through to the top tier of this still-crowded field of candidates.”

Bullock declared his candidacy in a video released on May 14, 2019. In his video, Bullock suggested that, as the only Democrat in the race to have won an election in a traditionally Republican state, he was particularly well-positioned to defeat President Trump in 2020. Bullock was elected to his second term as Montana’s governor on the same night in 2016 that Trump won the state in a landslide. Bullock embraced the core Democratic platform of protecting abortion rights, addressing climate change, stricter gun control laws, and LBGT rights.

Bullock subsequently ran for Senate against incumbent Steve Daines, but lost in the 2020 election.

Democrat Michael Bennet

Photo of US Senator Michael Bennet
US Senator Michael Bennet. United States Senate / Public Domain

Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet folded his presidential campaign tent on February 11, 2020, after finishing dead-last in the New Hampshire primary. “We weren’t able to get much in the way of name identification in the state,” Bennet said in a post-primary statement. “We didn’t have the resources to compete. I’m frustrated because I think we did have something to contribute in terms of the agenda.” Running on what called a “Real Deal” centrist platform, Bennet had proposed free college and a “Medicare for All” healthcare plan. 

Bennet gained national exposure for his stinging rebuke of Texas’ Democratic Sen. Ted Cruz on the Senate floor during the record-setting government shutdown driven by President Trump’s border wall funding demand. While he opposed Bernie Sanders’ “Medicare for All” plan, Bennet proposed “Medicare X,” which would “create a public option modeled after Medicare alongside private options on the ObamaCare marketplaces.” A cosponsor of the Dream Act of 2017, Bennet is a strong supporter of comprehensive immigration reform.

Democrat Deval Patrick

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick speaking from a podium
Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick attends the W.E.B. Du Bois Medal Ceremony. Paul Marotta / Contributor / Getty Images

Former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, a late entry in the Democratic presidential nomination race ended his run on February 12, 2020, the day after finishing a distant ninth in the New Hampshire primary. “The vote in New Hampshire last night was not enough for us to create the practical wind at the campaign's back to go on to the next round of voting. So I have decided to suspend the campaign, effective immediately,” he said in a statement.

Patrick announced his candidacy on November 14, 2019. A late-comer to the race, Patrick was the first Black governor of Massachusetts, and was one of President Barack Obama’s biggest supporters and political advisers.

"I've had the chance to live my American dream," he said in announcement video Thursday morning. "But over the years, I've seen the path to that dream closing off bit by bit. The anxiety and even anger that I saw in my neighbors on the South Side, the sense that the government and the economy were letting us down, were no longer about us, is what folks feel all over America today in all kinds of communities."

Republican Bill Weld

Portrait of Bill Weld
Portrait of Bill Weld. Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

Former Republican Governor of Massachusetts, Bill Weld broke into presidential politics when he ran as the Libertarian Party’s nominee for vice president in the 2016 election, sharing the ticket with Gary Johnson. The pair won 4.5 million popular votes, the best showing ever for a Libertarian ticket. Once again a Republican, Weld announced that he had formed a 2020 presidential exploratory committee on February 15, 2019. Weld has been critical of President Donald Trump’s economic policy and personality, accused him of working harder on dividing the people than on reducing the federal deficit or reducing unemployment.

Weld was the only Republican challenger who won a single delegate during the primaries: he won one delegate from the Iowa caucus. He ended his campaign on March 18, 2020 and endorsed Democrat Joe Biden.

Republican Mark Sanford

Color photograph of former U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford
Former U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford. Mary Ann Chastain / Getty Images

Former U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford of South Carolina said that Republicans have "lost our way,” in announcing on September 9, that he would will launch a primary bid challenging President Trump. Sanford served in Congress from 1995 to 2001, and again from 2013 to 2019. He was also South Carolina's governor from 2003 to 2011.

Interviewed on “Fox News Sunday,” Sanford explained, “I think we need to have a conversation on what it means to be a Republican.” He criticized President Trump's leadership style, suggesting the GOP should focus more on spending and the debt, warning the country is headed toward "the most significant financial storm" since the Great Depression."

Sanford's campaign only lasted a few months, ending on November 12, 2019.

Republican Joe Walsh

Photograph of former U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Illinois)
Former U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Illinois). Wikimedia Commons

Former Illinois congressman Joe Walsh ended his Republican primary challenge to President Trump on February 7, 2020. Facing long odds against an incumbent president, as well as campaign funding shortages, Walsh said in a tweet, “I’m suspending my campaign, but our fight against the Cult of Trump is just getting started. I’m committed to doing everything I can to defeat Trump and his enablers this November.” Walsh endorsed Democrat Joe Biden.

Now a conservative radio host, Walsh was elected to the House in 2010 and served one term. Then a part of the ultra-right Tea Party wave, Walsh admitted he had been a strong supporter of President Trump. "I regret that. And I’m sorry for that,” he said. “The country is sick of this guy's tantrum. He's a child. Again, the litany. He lies every time he opens his mouth.”

Updated by Robert Longley 

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Murse, Tom. "2020 Presidential Candidates." ThoughtCo, Feb. 16, 2021, thoughtco.com/2020-presidential-candidates-list-and-bios-4154063. Murse, Tom. (2021, February 16). 2020 Presidential Candidates. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/2020-presidential-candidates-list-and-bios-4154063 Murse, Tom. "2020 Presidential Candidates." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/2020-presidential-candidates-list-and-bios-4154063 (accessed May 30, 2023).